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Nature Loop Over San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas Fault is the single biggest reason why Point Reyes is so unique. The Pacific side of the fault moves north as the eastern side slides south, frequently resulting in destructive earthquakes. The famous 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Loma Prieta Earthquake (also known as the "World Series Earthquake" because it occurred mere minutes before game 3 of the World Series between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants) were caused by the fault. Even though most people who spend any amount of time in the Bay Area are likely to cross over the fault many times, this short and easy hike is an opportunity to visit an area that has remained relatively unchanged since the 1906 quake.
The hike starts next to a bathroom (running water) at the northeast corner of the large dirt parking lot that lies southeast of Point Reyes National Seashore's nice visitors center. This trail is entirely paved, and there are interpretive signs every few hundred yards. The live oaks, eucalyptus, bay laurel and sycamore trees frame a landscape that has retained its essential character for centuries.
There is an exhibit depicting a section of the fence that ran across the area in 1906 that shows how the earthquake moved the 2 sections apart by about 20'. The fence is obviously a recreation, but it shows how much danger lies under our feet. Continue on the path as it leaves the small creek near the fence and enters a more open area that has nice views of the trees. The trail soon ends, and hopefully you'll have time for a more adventurous hike after seeing this slice of history.
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